HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Hillsborough County judge has dismissed a county commissioner's lawsuit seeking to overturn the transportation tax that county residents voters passed in 2018.
- Hillsborough County Transportation Tax Faces Legal Challenge
- Hillsborough Commissioner Files Lawsuit Over Voted-Approved Transportation Tax
- More Hillsborough County stories
The decision by Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Rex Barbas was released on Thursday.
Voters passed the one percent sales tax in November. County Commissioner Stacy White filed the lawsuit in December, claiming the charter creating the new tax violated state statues.
The group All For Transportation, which supports the tax, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
All for Transportation attorney Brian Willis said they argued White doesn't have the authority to file the suit in his official capacity as a county commissioner.
He called the judge's decision a "win" for people who support the transportation tax.
"People voted because they're sick and tired of the status quo," Willis said. "The tax is being collected and this lawsuit was obstructing the solutions that people want from being implemented, so this is one step closer to seeing those solutions."
However, the judge's decision doesn't mean the fight is over.
Barbas's decision will allow White to amend his lawsuit so he could sue as an "individual" or private citizen.
When we inquired about their possible next steps, White's attorney's office told us they "don't discuss ongoing litigation," while White did not respond to a phone message or email.
Willis said as far as his group is concerned they want to see the county move forward with plans for the tax money.
"The county is in workshops, county engineers are planning, HART is meeting to discuss how to implement this money, so we're hopeful by the end of the year, early part of next year, we'll actually see things hitting the roadway, hitting the sidewalks, bus improvements that are actually out there on the street," Willis said.
The next step is a bond validation lawsuit. A hearing on that is scheduled for May 3.